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Game changers in the biz

/ 01:04 AM April 19, 2016

MOST of the time, the local entertainment scene is ruled by the desultory view that things don’t change and improve—“that’s the way it’s always been”—so, it’s useless to think otherwise.

That’s the defeatist view, which explains why the biz is crowded with “yes” men rather than reformists.

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On the other hand, there have been numerous unexpected developments and improvements that have come about once every long while, indicating that hope is not synonymous with “nope,” and prospective game changers are not delusional and masochistic self-flagellants.

All it takes is a few good men and women with an idea whose time has come, and the will and wherewithal to push for its realization. No ningas-cogon attitude allowed!

In the ’70s, the movie scene in the Philippines was dominated by foreign films, with only two movie houses in Manila open to screening Filipino films!

Then, Mayor Antonio Villegas and some leaders of the Filipino film industry joined hands to put up the 10-day Manila Film Festival (MFF), during which only local feature-length productions would be shown in all of the metropolis’ theaters.

At first, it was feared that viewers would snub the new festival and its all-Pinoy offerings. After all, the “educated” class looked down on local movies in those days, dismissing them as shoddy or shrill “bakya crowd” fare.

But, to their everlasting credit, our best producers and filmmakers stepped up to the plate and came up with polished and substantial productions that proved the cynical and snobbish naysayers wrong, and the new festival was a hit.

In fact, the MFF proved its key point so convincingly that theater owners soon realized that there was money to be made!

So, after the festival, more theaters opened their doors and screens to local productions, and the Filipino film industry finally came into its own!

We cite this game-changing instance in detail, because the local show biz scene is once again at the cusp of a number of game-changing development.

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 Resistance

We’d like to push and plug for them, to help overcome the usual resistance to them from a new batch of cynical naysayers, so they can benefit everyone starting this season:

The first big move is for the year-end Metro Manila Film Festival (the expanded MFF) to go back to its original vision of showcasing the best that the Filipino movie industry has to offer, not its most cynically commercial and moneymaking productions.

The next game-changing gambit is to heed the outcry over the recent deaths due to overwork of a number of TV-film people, and limit the number of working hours per day to “only” 12, or less.

Third, indie filmmakers, educators, students, theater owners and other concerned and involved groups should join forces to finally solve the big problem of the currently cresting Filipino independent film movement: A lot of good movies, but not enough places to show them.

Logically, existing theaters should agree to screen at least the best indies, but there are financial limitations and other considerations that get in the way.

So, another “support circuit” has to be worked out, involving schools, “required viewing,” etc.

These are just some of the many occasions and opportunities for reforms, so supporters of game-changing moves, hopefully including you, dear reader, should step up to the plate—and be counted!

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TAGS: Entertainment, Film, Film fest, independent film, indie, indie film, Manila Film Festival
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